We train our enemies.

This seems to me the most important lesson of conflict.

So if you see your enemy going berserk, you should wonder if you drove your enemy to extremity. And your enemy, likewise, drove you to the place where you drove him bonkers.

The Law of Nemesis may seem mysterious, but its working have been noticed since ancient times.

We should study this, carefully. It is in all of our interest to do so.

But the first step is to consiser the possibility that you are almost certainly at least partially in the wrong.

As is your enemy.

This truth, however, isn’t nearly as shocking as its inverse: that your enemy is likely at least partially in the right.

Where can we learn of this? Sun Tzu; von Clausewitz?

One might turn from conflict theory to metaphysics:

We too often forget that not only is there “a soul of goodness in things evil,” but very generally also, a soul of truth in things erroneous. While many admit the abstract probability that a falsity has usually a nucleus of reality, few bear this abstract probability in mind, when passing judgment on the opinions of others. A belief that is finally proved to be grossly at variance with fact, is cast aside with indignation or contempt; and in the heat of antagonism scarcely any one inquires what there was in this belief which commended it to men’s minds. Yet there must have been something. And there is reason to suspect that this something was its correspondence with certain of their experiences: an extremely limited or vague correspondence perhaps; but still, a correspondence. Even the absurdest report may in nearly every instance be traced to an actual occurrence; and had there been no such actual occurrence, this preposterous misrepresentation of it would never have existed. Though the distorted or magnified image transmitted to us through the refracting medium of rumour, is utterly unlike the reality; yet in the absence of the reality there would have been no distorted or magnified image. And thus it is with human beliefs in general. Entirely wrong as they may appear, the implication is that they germinated out of actual experiences—originally contained, and perhaps still contain, some small amount of verity.

More especially may we safely assume this, in the case of beliefs that have long existed and are widely diffused; and most of all so, in the case of beliefs that are perennial and nearly or quite universal.

Herbert Spencer, First Principles (1862; 1867), opening argument.
Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903)